Senate Confirms Michelle Kwan As United States Ambassador to Belize

by Carolee Chanona

On Thursday, the United States Senate confirmed former Olympic figure skater and longtime activist Michelle Kwan as Belize’s new U.S. Ambassador. The 41-year-old Kwan, who President Joe Biden nominated for the role in December, skated through the chamber’s confirmation process with a voice vote. The State Department had touted Kwan’s “distinguished career in public service, diplomacy, and sports” in a Certificate of Competency earlier this year. Belize’s last ambassador representing the United States of America was Ambassador Carlos Moreno during President Barack Obama’s administration, which ended in 2017.

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Following the departure of then-ambassador Carlos Moreno in 2017, Adrenne Galanek took the reins of the embassy under the post of Chargé d’Affaires. In the year to follow, Chargé d’Affaires Keith Gilges later assumed the role, with Chargé d’Affaires Leyla Moses-Ones now in position at the U.S. Embassy in Belmopan for the next three years.

“Kwan’s extensive work experience at the U.S. State Department in public diplomacy and youth outreach and her work with non-profit organizations combined with her strong management and business skills make her a well-qualified candidate to be the U.S. Ambassador to Belize,” the State Department said.

In its official nominee announcement in December 2022, the White House said, “Michelle Kwan has had a distinguished career in public service, diplomacy, and sports.”

First lady Michelle Obama hands a ball to Olympian skater Michelle Kwan during an event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, May 9, 2011, to promote physical fitness among military families. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“She is the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history; having won 43 championships, including five world championships, nine national titles, and two Olympic medals,” the statement continued. “She became the first Public Diplomacy Envoy in 2006, and for a decade, traveled extensively on behalf of the U.S. Department of State to engage youth around the world on social and educational issues.”

The agency also highlighted Kwan’s educational background, including her Master’s degree from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Header: Michelle Kwan speaks at a press conference after being inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame, at the 2012 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 27, 2012. (LiPo Ching/Staff)

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